Fraternity’s philanthropy provides mentorship to at-risk children

Noah Moore, Hunter Hatfield, and Cameron Buckman are members of theSigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. In their spare time they work with students through the Big Brother Big Sister program. “Serving as a Big through Big Brother Big Sister allowed me to get a better perspective of not only myself but the community as well,” Noah Moore said.

Sarah Yaacoub

Big Brothers Big Sisters is the primary philanthropy of Sigma Phi Epsilon, a national fraternity which has a WKU chapter.

The organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving children’s lives by pairing at-risk kids, nicknamed “littles,” with older mentors, called “bigs,” who typically spend time with them on a weekly basis discussing the children’s interests and questions and participating in games and activities together.

Hunter Hatfield is a White House, Tennessee, freshman and Sigma Phi Epsilon member who began volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters about two months ago. He works with the school-based program, which functions as a partnership between the local Bowling Green elementary school where Hatfield’s little attends.

The program allows bigs to eat lunch with their littles once a week during school hours. Hatfield’s little is a fourth grader who doesn’t have a father figure at home, which is why Hatfield said it’s so important to have a program like Big Brothers Big Sisters available.

“It gives them a role model to look up to, to talk about how to live their life,” said Hatfield. “[Bigs] also give advice.”

Sycamore, Illinois, sophomore Aidan Hickey is vice president of programming for Sigma Phi Epsilon. While Hickey does not currently have a little, he supports the organization in other ways. This year, he helped to organize Sweets Week, an annual philanthropic fundraiser with springtime activities like a pageant, a dunking booth and a bowling alley. The fraternity was able to raise $2,700 through the event to be donated directly to Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Kentucky. He also helps coordinate regular bowling nights throughout the year where littles can enjoy downtime with mentors in a safe environment.

“It’s a great organization,” Hickey said. “It gives opportunities for kids needing role models to interact with college kids.”

Hickey described his experience with the nonprofit as “really humbling.” He said that it provides a learning experience for both the kids and the mentors.  

Hatfield agreed that mentoring for Big Brothers Big Sisters is important for everyone involved.

“It’s given me a different outlook on children and how they’re raised,” Hatfield said.

Karen Hardin, the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Kentucky, appreciates Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Sweets Week, which she described as a week’s worth of activities during which Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Kentucky benefitted.

“They were just amazing,” Hardin said.

Hardin said mentorship is the key aspect of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters. He said Bigs help give littles confidence and act as role models for the littles.

“That creates this wonderful relationship,” she said.  

Hardin said the fraternity’s involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters impacts children’s lives and that through the members enrolling as bigs, the littles benefit from their mentorship.

“It’s incredible, the impact they can have on a child’s life,” Hardin said.

Features reporter Sarah Yaacoub can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @SarahYaacoub1